Even though the first animated documentary (The Sinking of the Lusitania) was released in 1918, the genre was considered as a paradox for a long time, and needed a couple of quite powerful breakthroughs – Waltz with Bashir and Flee – to win recognition from the wider audience and industry decision-makers. Today animation’s use in documentary filmmaking has truly flourished. More and more filmmakers are finding their creative freedom and new exciting challenges in this genre.
We invited Piotr Kardas, a film curator specialising in animated documentaries, and Alex Widdowson, a London-based multi-award-winning animated documentary director and researcher specialising in the representation of neurodivergence and psychology, to talk about how documentary and animation can be used and mixed creatively in filmmaking, as well as how to find a balance between the seemingly limitless potential of animation and the duty of a documentary filmmaker to create authentic and ethical representations of people and the world.
Speaker: Alex Widdowson
Alex Widdowson is a multi-award-winning British animated documentary filmmaker, the director of the Factual Animation Film Festival, and a co-host of the Autism through Cinema Podcast. He is a Ph.D. candidate at Queen Mary University of London, where he is conducting practice-based research into animated documentary ethics, using the neurodiversity paradigm as a theoretical framework.
Moderator: Piotr Kardas
Piotr Kardas (1984) is well-known as Animation Across Borders; he is the founder and director of the O!PLA Animation Film Festival held in cities in Poland and abroad (2013-) and the Rising of Lusitania - AnimaDoc Film Festival in port cities (2019-; Liverpool, UK; Gdansk, PL… and more); he is the co-creator and programme director of the CRAFT International Animation Festival in Yogyakarta (2017-; Java, Indonesia) and the International Futurological Film Festival (2021-, Lodz, Poland).. He was the coordinator of the Polish chapter of the Polish-Slovenian StopTrik International Film Festival (2016-; Lodz, Poland), and has co-created several other film festivals. He organised the International Animation Day in Poland (2012-), and has been a curator and juror in Poland and abroad. He studied Film Theory and New Media (University of Lodz). From 2010 to 2012 he worked for Se-ma-for Film Production (Lodz, Poland), Se-ma-for Film Foundation (Lodz, Poland), and the ARS INDEPENDENT International Film Festival (Katowice, Poland).